Dec. 3rd Roundup: Sen. Barrett & Sec. Theoharides Talk Climate Action

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– Senator Barrett Speaks on MassSave, Regional Carbon Price at Conference: Yesterday’s New England Energy Summit featured remarks from a series of state energy leaders including Senator Michael Barrett, the chair of the joint energy committee. The remarks, covered via Twitter by WBUR reporter Bruce Gellerman, included a number of insights into Senator Barrett’s thoughts on MassSave and how to achieve a price on carbon pollution. On MassSave, Barrett believes it underperforms and thinks to solve the climate crisis requires “frugal use of energy,” greening the grid “as aggressively as the market will bear,” and electrifying “every vehicle & building.”

On the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), Senator Barrett pointed out that carbon pricing markets “don’t need to be contiguous,” rather looking at WCI shows us that “market size is important.” Barrett also predicted that we are “going to see a nat’l carbon price” and that he “wants a “completely refundable, revenue neutral carbon transport fuel fee” where the “lowest 60% [in] income get more in rebate than they pay.”

Barrett also doubled down on his commitment to introduce a climate bill in January 2020, a pledge he made this past November.

– Regional Carbon Price Announcement Expected December 17th: Also confirmed at the New England Energy Summit; the date of the draft MOU (memorandum of understanding) between the northeastern states involved in TCI (the regional carbon price backed by Governor Baker). During her remarks, Energy & Environment Secretary Katie Theoharides announced that the Governor will join participating states in releasing the draft MOU on Tuesday, December 17th.

The MOU is essentially the written agreement between the states on how TCI will work. It includes everything from the specific cap level on carbon pollution to program governance and oversight. More on the TCI policy design process here.

– Sunrise Boston planning “BIGGEST action yet” at State House: The youth-led pro-climate political organization Sunrise Boston is planning what they are calling their “biggest action yet” this Friday (12/6) at 3 pm at the Massachusetts State House. Activists will first meet at 10:30 am in Copley Square, before marching to the State House. According to a sign-up form, protesters plan to engage in a ‘high risk action’ which “has the potential to have people arrested at it.” The organizers plan to supply “training and legal advice” to those who may be arrested. You can learn more about the Sunrise Movement here.

– “Massachusetts divestment movement seeks to capitalize on fossil fuels’ decline” (Sarah Shemkus, Energy News Network) [read the article]


– Environment spending at center of controversial ‘People’s Pledge’: In recent days Senator Ed Markey has taken heat from the two Democratic rivals seeking to oust him from his US Senate seat (Congressman Joe Kennedy III and attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan) for his refusal to sign a pledge to limit outside spending in the Senate primary. Senator Markey has refused to sign this pledge, and has countered with his own version. According to the Boston Globe, “Markey’s proposal would bar “all outside negative advertising” but would allow certain outside groups, who disclose their donors, to disseminate “positive” ads and messages in support of one of the candidates.” Why this caveat? Part of the reason stems from the support Markey is getting from advocacy groups, including those focused on climate change and the environment. Most notably Environment Massachusetts, which has pledged to spend $5 million to support Markey’s re-election.

– Congressional candidate Auchincloss wants a ‘Green New Deal for Transit’, supports carbon pricing: Yesterday Jacob Auchincloss, a Newton City Councilor who is running for the congressional seat vacated by Joe Kennedy III, released his plan for achieving a “Green New Deal to Reinvent Transportation in Massachusetts.” Among other proposals, the plan calls for the construction of a zero-emissions “statewide 24/7 rail service”, a “unified, high-frequency regional bus network”, and “equitable congestion pricing for traffic-clogged arteries.” Read the full plan here.

When asked by this newsletter whether he supports a price on carbon, which is not included in this plan, Auchincloss said he is a “big supporter of carbon pricing” and “it will be part of the tax position paper that I’m working on.” He elaborated further, saying, “we need to price carbon; it’s the single most effective way to induce the market changes we want, along with federal funding into basic energy research.”


– “Construction To Begin On Weymouth Compressor Station In Early December, Company Says” (Miriam Wasser, WBUR’s Earthwhile) [read the article]

– “Planning For Climate Change, Some Dorchester Activists Focus On Building Networks To Neighbors” (Brianna McKinley, WGBH) [read the article]


– “Democratize access to clean energy” by Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino, via Commonwealth Magazine.

– “Students show the way on climate change” by Tamara Kellogg, via the Boston Globe.

– “Healey lawsuit against ExxonMobil is counterproductive” by Joseph Fitzpatrick, via the Commonwealth Magazine.

– “Guest Column: Brookline’s Historic Climate Vote” by Lisa Cunningham, via Wicked Local Brookline.

– “Don’t cut off your carbon-footprint nose to spite your clean-energy face” via the Lowell Sun Editorial Board.

– “Letter: Climate strike will convene on Copley Square” by Jan Kubiac, via the Worcester Telegram.


– Region’s largest power generators support carbon price: Ok, last story relating to the New England Energy Summit, I promise! In an interesting development, some of the region’s largest owners of power generating facilities say they would be open to supporting a price on carbon pollution. Among them; Vistra Energy, Brookfield Renewables, and Carlyle Power Partners.

(P.S. Big thank you to Bruce Gellerman for your excellent Twitter coverage of this event! Follow him at @AudioBruce).


– “‘Forever chemicals’ are found in MWRA fertilizer, drawing alarm” (David Abel, Boston Globe): [read the article]


– “How these Massachusetts farmers are turning manure and food waste into power” (Allison Aubrey, PBS NewsHour) [read the article]


– “Exxon Bumps Massachusetts Climate Change Case to Federal Court” (Ellen M. Gilmer, Bloomberg News) [read the article]


– “One nonprofit is making a difference, one Tesla at a time” (Tesla Motor Club Staff) [read the article]

– “PAC to argue for bringing Canadian hydropower to New England” (David Sharp, The Associated Press via SouthCoast Today) [read the article]


– “Nevada Governor Signs Executive Order Calling for Market-Based Mechanisms” (Noa Dalzell, Climate XChange) [read the article]


– “John Kerry’s New Bipartisan, Star-Studded ‘War’ on Climate Change” (Robinson Meyer, the Atlantic): “In an interview, the former secretary of state talks about the climate news that makes him want to curse, and his new alliance with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Leonardo DiCaprio.”

– “Senate Confirms Dan Brouillette to Lead Energy Department” (Lisa Friedman, New York Times): “The Senate on Monday confirmed Dan Brouillette, a former lobbyist for Ford Motor Company, to be President Trump’s second secretary of energy, replacing Rick Perry…”


Missed the last CXC Roundup? Here are the top clipped headlines from last week:

  1. “Your 2019 Guide to Climate Conversations at the Thanksgiving Table”

  2. “Massachusetts bill would block logging, let state forests keep their carbon”

  3. “Our Opinion: Mayors ambitious on renewable energy”

Read the full Roundup here from November 27th, 2019 here.

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